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The $1,000 iPhone 8 isn’t as scary as it sounds

by Todd Haselton | February 13, 2017February 13, 2017 6:00 am PDT

A rumor a few days ago suggested that Apple’s iPhone 8 may cost as much as $1,000. My guess is that will be the price of the entry-level storage option, at least if the iPhone 8 is the most powerful of three new iPhones, which may also include the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. Don’t be so afraid of that pricing, though, very little is actually changing here.

Sure, reading a headline that says the iPhone is going to cost “$1,000” may be shocking, but the fact is iPhones already cost that much. In fact, Apple’s most expensive iPhone 7 Plus will set you back $969.00 before taxes and fees, which easily bring the full cost over $1,000. My iPhone 6s Plus, which I bought two years ago, packed 128GB of storage and retailed for $949, or $1,086 after taxes. You might not be buying iPhones off contract like I do, but you’re still paying this full price.

Apple and its carrier partners are just really good at hiding it. You’ll either pay a subsidy, which is becoming less common, or you’ll sign up for an equipment installment plan and pay for the cost of the phone over an agreed upon period of time. These are the carrier’s early upgrade plans, which typically range from 12 to 24 months and require you to turn in your device at the end if you want to purchase a new one.

$1,000 spread out over 24 months comes out to $41. If you buy a more expensive model that comes out to $1,200 or so, the price is probably going to be more like $50. That’s not cheap, but it’s a lot less scary than $1,000, isn’t it? And that’s why you probably don’t always realize that Apple and other smartphone makers, whether it’s Samsung or LG, regularly charge $800 or more for their most premium smartphones. Carriers know this, and it’s why for years you used to see prices set at $199 with a two-year contract for the most expensive devices. Back then, you were still paying off the full cost of the phone over 24 months, you just didn’t really know it.

iPhones have great trade-in value

There’s good news, though. iPhones still have incredible resale value. If you time it right, you can often make back a huge percentage of the full cost of last year’s phone. You just want to sell it before the new iPhone is announced. Last year’s unlocked iPhone 7 Plus with 128GB of storage, for example, can fetch you roughly $800 on sites like Swappa. You’re not losing very much money if you choose that route, and you’ll have the dough to buy Apple’s iPhone 8 at launch.

My point is, don’t let the headlines scare you. Apple’s iPhones have always been expensive, and the iPhone 8 probably won’t be any different.

Concept above created by Thadeu Brandao for Concepts iPhone.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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